A birth center has many advantages as a birth location. Here’s why one mom opted to labor and deliver her baby in a birthing center instead of in the hospital or at home.
Guest Post by Leigh Ann of Intentional by Grace
This post is part of the Pregnancy: A Natural Phenomenon series.
There are few things more special than the birth of a brand new life. The miracle of life never ceases to amaze me. We start out as a little tiny dot, no bigger than the period at the end of this sentence, and then we transform into this person, this life, this wonder.
The birth of our little boy was a day of so much joy, as is the birth of any baby, of course! One of the things that I love about where we live is the freedom to choose the setting in which we would like to bring our bundles of joy into this world.
We opted to give birth in a birth center, and it was a wonderful experience. We chose a birth center over a hospital and home birth for several reasons.
10 Reasons We Opted to Give Birth at a Birth Center
1. Increased ability to relax.
One of the most important parts of labor for any woman is the ability to relax. For me, hospitals do not elicit a feeling of relaxation. In a way, I’ve always been scared of hospitals. Therefore, giving birth in a hospital was not attractive to me.
2. Comforts of home without actually being at home.
For our first labor and delivery experience, we were not comfortable with a home birth. We loved the birth center’s at-home comfort, and the quietness that we were used to, but with all the conveniences of a hospital. Again, this helped us relax!
3. No monitors and tubes to cart around.
We desired to be able to listen to my body and move about freely without any restrictions. I went to the bathroom a lot during labor. I was constantly emptying my bladder, almost to a point of weird compulsion, and I could not have imagined having to worry with my IV drip while doing so.
4. Access to a birthing tub, showers, and many other aids to help ease labor pain.
We planned a water birth. Our birth center had an enormous tub ready and waiting when we arrived. We loved having this option, and other resources at our fingertips.
5. Support for a natural birth without the temptation for an epidural.
We wanted a completely natural birth, and we didn’t want to waste precious energy refusing epidurals or other pain relievers. Midwives are trained in helping laboring women to get into positions that will ease pain without the aid of medication. During transition the thought occurred to me that I very easily could have caved if I knew epidurals were so readily available. I’m glad they weren’t a temptation for us.
6. Support for breastfeeding.
Being able to nurse my baby was very important to me. Our nurses and midwives were there to help us get the correct latch, positioning, etc. before we were sent home. Additionally, my midwife and nurse only had me to care for. So, they were able to give me their undivided attention.
7. Increased bonding with baby.
Since you are never separated from your baby, barring any health concerns, your baby is placed directly on your chest upon delivery. Then, all routine checks for the baby are done right there on your bed. You can be in constant contact with your baby post delivery. This is also very helpful for setting you up for breastfeeding success.
8. Choose your own birth team.
This was one of my favorite parts of birthing at a birth center. I got to choose who would be present, and even who would catch my baby. The midwives are there to oversee and help when necessary, but I had the freedom to choose my “team.”
9. No overnight stays.
My son was born around four thirty in the morning. We were home before lunch. I was able to recover in the comforts of my own home. I will choose my bed over any hospital or birth center bed any day, and my mom and mother-in-love were able to play mother hens while I recovered. The nurses come to your home to do check ups periodically and to answer any questions. It was wonderful!
Let’s be honest. For us, it was thousands of dollars cheaper to have our baby in a birth center than to go through a hospital. We are a one-income family, so this was helpful for us financially.
In summary, we thoroughly enjoyed our birth center experience. Our midwives and nurses were incredible. I think the key to any birth experience is to go into it with open hands, trusting in God’s goodness, and being willing to let go of your expectations when things don’t go as you expected.
For us, I was not able to deliver my baby in the birthing tub. I was transferred from the tub to the bed to deliver my baby on all fours. This wasn’t part of my plan, but it was exactly what was necessary to bring my sweet boy into this world safely.
It was not part of my plan for my baby to require oxygen, and as a result be separated from me for the first ten minutes of his life. However, that was exactly what was necessary for my boy to stay in this world safely.
If you’re interested, you can read my entire birth story with all the details here.
I think birth centers are a wonderful way to bring the comforts of your home into your experience, but give you all the medical conveniences of a hospital (sans epidurals) that you would need for a routine labor and delivery. If you have a birth center near you, I highly recommend looking into it. If we hadn’t moved across the country 1,500 miles from our beloved birth center, we’d do it again. However, where we live now there is no birth center. So, when the time comes, we’ll be deciding between a hospital birth and home birth. I’ll have a completely different experience to report next time!
What about you? What do you think of giving birth in a birth center?
Leigh Ann’s life goal is to create a home where it is impossible to not think about God. At Intentional By Grace, she blogs about her journey of intentional living in order to make this goal a reality.
Leigh Ann is the wife to the man of her prayers, Mark, and mama to a loveable little boy, Samuel. She takes joy in spending her days creating memorable moments with her husband, conducting kitchen experiments, researching every natural alternative known to man, and making her little boy laugh. She does it all by the grace of God.